November 27, 2014

blog 6

In a world where we have managed to place humans on other planets, where we have created information systems that can send data world wide in the blink of an eye, and in a world where we have managed to invent hand-held devices that can connect us with almost anyone and completely organise our lives, the question still remains: ‘why have we still not managed to achieve gender equality?’ And more importantly, ‘how will we do so?’

This is a question that Sally Wyatt addresses in her piece titled ‘Feminism, Technology and the Information Society: Learning from the Past, Imagining the Future’. In this piece Sally gives an overview of past feminist attempts to address this issue, and more importantly begins to depart from these. Sally recognises that new methods may be required in order to move forward in a modern day world where old techniques have clearly not worked[1], yet she unfortunately does not offer any tangible solutions or suggestions for doing so.

Gender inequality is bred from gender binaries and these are drilled into us from an extremely early age. Infants are dressed in certain clothing according to their gender, given toys according to their gender, and grow up to believe that certain activities are ‘manly’ and certain activities are ‘girly’, the latter being something negative and associated with the lesser. This is all learned behaviour that runs deep within social structures, and it is these structures that should be looked at as a means to alter what we learn.

“One is not born, but rather becomes a women”[2] Simone de Beauvoir

An obvious place to start would be our education systems. A world where feminism and gender studies is a part of every schools curriculum would be a world where gender beliefs are altered and shaped from the very beginning. An American teacher named Ileana Jimenez is attempting to do exactly this, and is giving her high school students the tools to “stand up for what they believe in, and refuse to be a passive witness to other peoples’ oppression”[3].

It is this information and awareness that is key in creating change, so where then does technology come into the equation? Whilst technology is undoubtedly a powerful tool for distributing information quickly and easily, it doesn’t begin to tackle the core issue. Technology and data systems can help to reinforce messages and raise awareness, but the true change that needs to happen is not hinged on modern day technology, it is hinged on getting information into our awareness from the very start.

To affect our brains (the containers of life) via information, we will begin to affect the networks and agents that create the machines, which will all ultimately alter our perception of the things. And perception is everything.



[1] Sally Wyatt, ‘Feminism, Technology and the Information Society: Learning from the Past, Imagining the Future’ in Information, Communication & Society, 2008, Vol.11(1), p.122

[2] Simone de Beauvoir, The Second Sex [New York: Vintage Books, 1973], p.301

[3] Scherker, Amanda. “The Feminist High School Class Every Student In America Should Be Taking.” The Huffington Post. TheHuffingtonPost.com, 12 Nov. 2014. Web. 25 Nov. 2014. <http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/11/12/nyc-feminist-high-school_n_6147230.html&gt;


  1. wimwiklund Says:

    Gender should definitely be a part of every schools curriculum, I agree. It’s a pity that we, only in college, are able to improve our knowledge about this important subject. Feminism is according to several scientists one of the most influential movements of the 1900s, so why do we not teach it in school? So typical that all the figures in feminism are marginalized in historiography.

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